Trees Atlanta Annual VaHi Planting Set for February 21

image001VaHi’s streets are among the most tree-lined of any intown Atlanta neighborhood. We have many years of joint planting events with Trees Atlanta to thank for that wonderful fact. This year’s annual Trees Atlanta/VaHi tree planting will be held Saturday February 21 from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM.

DSCF0011The overall focus continues to be to plant in areas of high automobile traffic to help slow down the traffic, reduce pollution and increase the sense of ‘neighborhood’. This year most of the trees will be planted along Greenwood and St. Charles, but a number of fill-in trees will also be planted along Adair and some along Barnett. Click here for a detailed list of what trees will be planted where. All sites where trees will be planted have been leafletted.

DSC_0012Concurrent with the planting of these 85 trees in the neighborhood, neighbors on Clemont and Greencove are sponsoring a mulching of the trees in the back of the field at Inman Middle School. The mulch for both projects will be dropped at that location. If there are enough volunteers, we should be able to mulch all the trees not only in the field, but also the street trees immediately surrounding Inman School.

We need volunteers for both events. If you’d like to help plant trees, come to New Highland Park at 9:00 AM. If you want to help mulch, come to the back of the field at Inman School along Clemont. All ages are welcome and no RSVP is needed – just show up if you can help.

Trees Atlanta will provide buckets, pitchforks, shovels and gloves for volunteers. Let’s bring out the entire neighborhood and celebrate Arbor Day planting and mulching trees, VaHi-style. Special thanks to the scouts and leaders of Cub Scout Pack #17 for their ongoing support of this annual event! Pack #17 has been instrumental in raising funding and providing volunteers for the event, year in and year out.

For more information contact Alex Beasley at Trees Atlanta or Stephanie Coffin

VaHi Resident Continues Work on Mosaic at Intown Ace Hardware, Education Event Scheduled for Saturday

Coffin Dedicdation InviteLet’s face it: there’s a Hall of Fame for just about everything. Pro football, major league baseball, country music, even harness racing. If it’s something people follow, then there’s a hall somewhere where the best of the best are enshrined.According to VaHi resident Stephanie Coffin, that’s all well and good. But what about insects?

According to VaHi resident Stephanie Coffin, that’s all well and good. But what about insects?Coffin, Intown Ace Hardware and the Virginia-Highland Civic Association invite you to stop by Intown Ace’s parking lot at 845 N. Highland this Saturday December 13 from 1-3 PM for the dedication of Coffin’s newest mosaic creation which she’s calling the

Coffin's VaHi home is a virtual showcase of mosaic art.

Coffin’s VaHi home is a virtual showcase of mosaic art.

Coffin, Intown Ace Hardware and the Virginia-Highland Civic Association invite you to stop by Intown Ace’s parking lot at 845 N. Highland this Saturday December 13 from 1-3 PM for the dedication of Coffin’s newest mosaic creation which she’s calling the Insect Wall of Fame.

“The name is a play off of the College Football Hall Fame,” says Coffin. “The idea is to specifically honor four insects and present their images in beautiful settings. I hope the mosaic inspires children to learn more about insects, these four in particular.”

Coffin's workshop studio where she creates her mosaics.

Coffin’s workshop studio where she creates her mosaics.

Coffin’s been doing mosaic work in and around Virginia-Highland for years. Her work titled Precious Predators was presented as part of the Art on the BeltLine series (and is now on display at Truly Living Well Gardens), and it can be seen on planters at Sevananda market on Moreland Ave. in Little Five Points. Last year Coffin began work on the planter in the Intown Ace parking lot. For more information on Coffin and her art, click here to read an interview with the artist published last year in The Voice.

Thanks in part to a community art grant awarded this year by the VHCA, the artist was able to recently complete a second planter wall. So, just which insects is Coffin featuring on her Insect Wall of Fame?

“I’m featuring the ladybug, the Monarch butterfly, the praying mantis and the honey bee,” Coffin explains. “I chose the ladybug and praying mantis because of the work they do for us in the garden. I chose the Monarch because it stands in the throes of extinction. The butterfly’s image is surrounded by milkweed which it needs for reproduction and hangs by a thin thread. We can all help preservation efforts by planting NATIVE varieties. Lastly, because of colony collapse and other bee problems, I wanted to prominently feature the honey bee. In addition to these insects I’ve included vegetables and flowers so the insects are shown in a natural setting.”

Not only will Coffin be on hand Saturday to answer questions about her creation, Intown Ace gardening expert Robbie Cotney will provide useful and interesting information about each insect featured in the mosaic.

The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend. Organizers plan to provide hot cider to attendees.

Fire Station #19 Santathon is On!

station19santathonWhen: Saturday, December 6th, 1PM – 8PM (Santa will arrive after he finishes Breakfast with Santa at Osteria 832)

Where: Fire Station #19, 1063 N. Highland Ave., across from Church of Our Saviour

From caroling to roasting s’mores to selfies with Santa, there will be something for everyone to enjoy at this Santathon to benefit Fire Station #19. In the spirit of holiday giving, this festive event – presented by Tailfin Marketing – is a fundraiser with proceeds going to help restore our historic fire station.

Fire Station #19 is Atlanta’s oldest continuously operating fire station, was designed by Atlanta’s City Engineer, C.E. Kaufman, and built in 1925. The station sits in the heart of Virginia-Highland and holds an important place in the hearts of VaHi residents. It is home to a 1925 American LaFrance fire engine, much like the engine that would have operated out of the fire station in its early days. The firefighters have been raising funds for several years and have plans in hand to make repairs and improvements that will preserve this fire station for years to come. Please take part and help preserve our important landmark Fire Station #19!

Starting Nov. 28th visit to sign up for Santathon events by appointment. Residents and visitors are also invited to drop by and participate throughout the event.

Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes Committee Thanks 2014 Sponsors

2014-Tour-of-Homes-DatesThe 2014 Virginia-Highland Tour of Homes is only three short weeks away. With ticket sales already booming and our sponsorships locked in, our 2014 tour promises to be another successful neighborhood event. This year we have a total of 75 business/individual sponsors and have raised $35,000 to fund important neighborhood initiatives. THIS IS INCREDIBLE!  In addition to sponsorships, some businesses and restaurants donated TOH tickets and gift certificates via the Tour of Homes Facebook page. We’ll continue to run these promotions right up to event weekend so check our page out daily to have a chance to win!

On behalf of myself and the entire Tour of Homes Committee, we would like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to this year’s sponsors. Thank you for your generous contributions at all levels to help ensure the success of our event, support our community and give back to our neighborhood.

This year’s Presenting Sponsor is Muffley & Associates.

Our Premium Sponsors are Keller Knapp and The Real Estate Company.

Our Major Sponsors are Atlanta Intown, Barking Hound Village, Engineered Solutions, DogGoneHandy, Foam South, Home Rebuilders, Lisa Fish Creative, Mark Arnold Architect, Peachy Clean, Phoenix Renovations, Round Here Renovations, The Great Frame Up, The in towners, The Warren, Whole Foods – Ponce and YWCA.

Our Benefactor Sponsors are Abraham Properties, Balance Design, Broad Builders, Centner Consulting LLC, Construction Resources Inc., Copper Sky Renovations, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Interior Evolutions, John Wesley Hammer, Karen Hott Interiors, Liz Lapidus, She’s Wired, Traditions in Tile and Stone, The Suzuki Prepatory PreSchool and Urban Body Studios.

Our Neighborhood Sponsors are 310 Rosemont, Allied Fence Company, Atlanta Active Wear, Bla Bla Kids, Dan DeHart, Muffley & Associates Real Estate, Design BH Architecture, Distinctive Appliances Buckhead – Midtown Vaccum, Fern Valley Landscape & Interiors, Faith Flowers, HOMESTEAD Real Estate Consultants, Intown Hardware, Mike Price, Realtor – The Mike Price Team, MLC Properties, Neptune Pools, Nikie Barfield Design, Nonies Garden Florals & Botanicals, PSB Studio Architecture, Urbana Designs, William Wren and Winter Wren.

Our Giveaway sponsors are Atkins Park, Barking Hound Village, Bla Bla Kids, Disel Filling Station, El Taco, Engineered Solutions, Foam South LLC, Fontaine’s, Highland Tap, Keller Knapp Realty, La Tavola, Moore Farms & Friends, Muffley & Associates Real Estate, Murphy’s, Noche, Tapa Tapa, Ten Thousand Villages, The Rea Estate Company, The Warren City Club, Timmone’s and Whole Foods Market – Ponce de Leon.

Get your tour tickets online NOW at the Tour of Homes website. Plan Dec 6th and 7th as your weekend to EAT, TOUR and SHOP in VaHi. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 day of tour. Your tickets get you access to seven incredibly unique homes, a tour of the historic Church of Our Savior, food samplings from 10 different community restaurants and special coupons and discounts from our local eateries and shops.

This is the perfect weekend to kick off your holiday season. Bring your family and friends out to hear the Grady High School Jazz Band and Choir perform. What an amazing community we live in. It’s time to celebrate in Virginia-Highland.

~ Angelika Taylor, 2014 Tour of Homes Chair

Taste of Atlanta Comes to Midtown October 24-26

Taste of Atl 600x200More than 90 of Atlanta’s best restaurants will participate in this year’s Taste of Atlanta, to be held October 24-26 in Midtown at Tech Square. With eateries featured from both inside and outside the perimeter, festival-goers will be able to savor truly authentic flavors that represent every corner of the city.

New this year, to help attendees pinpoint their local favorites or discover new dining treasures during Taste of Atlanta, the festival will take food lovers on a culinary tour through the city’s many diverse neighborhoods. Whether it’s Buckhead’s St. Cecilia, Virginia-Highland’s The Original El Taco, Roswell’s Little Alley Steakhouse, Decatur’s No. 246, Brookhaven’s THERE, Alpharetta’s Milton’s or Midtown’s Table at Ten, festival-goers will experience a variety of signature sensations from each community.

Keeping with tradition, Taste of Atlanta will kick off the festival’s 13th year of fantastic fare with an exclusive block party on Friday, October 24. The event, themed Culinary Matrimony, will feature local celebrity chefs for an evening of both famed and more obscure flavor pairings. Guests can also look forward to live music from Electric Avenue, a PleaseRock tribute band, and bountiful booze. Select restaurants, including Seven Lamps, Fox Bros. BBQ, The Optimist and Buttermilk Kitchen, will also be onsite to serve up delicious bites.

“I think people will be hard pressed to find more culinary variety in one place,” said Chef and Restaurateur Ron Eyester of Rosebud, The Family Dog, Timone’s and his latest concept, Diner. “With every signature taste, the festival showcases just how diverse and progressive our city’s dining scene really is. I welcome any opportunity to support my fellow chefs and our local food landscape, and that is exactly what Taste of Atlanta brings to the table!”

Click here for more information on Taste of Atlanta.

Let’s Bring Some Fall Color to The Triangle Island Park

DSC_0151Please join us at the Virginia-Highland triangle island park (in front of Taco Mac) on Saturday morning, October 11 to help with light weeding and fall planting. We will start at 10 AM, but feel free to come by any time before noon. We will have some tools on hand, but please bring gloves and spades if you have them. Bottled water will be provided.

Questions or comments? Contact Nonie Daniel at

VaHi Celebrates Atlanta Streets Alive

Kudos to the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition for putting on another outstanding Atlanta Streets Alive event yesterday. Four hours of un-motorized bliss and plenty of fun activities and events for people on foot, bicycle, rollerblades, etc. to participate in.

A broken foot prevented your fearless reporter from cycling the event this time, but I was able to walk the area between Virginia Ave. and Freedom Pkwy. and took pictures along the way – including many from the start of the Bicycle Parade. Here are 15 of my favorites. Click here to view a Google album with more photos. Enjoy!


VHCA Announces Candidates for 2014-15 Board of Directors; Absentee Ballot Available

VaHi-Logo-Very-Horizontal-Small-RGBThe nominating committee of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association presents the following list of candidates, all of whom have declared their candidacy. Click on the candidate’s name to go to a page with candidate bio’s.

Members of the association (18 years of age residing within the official boundaries of Virginia-Highland) may vote at the Annual General Meeting to be held September 18, 2014 at the Inman Middle School Cafeteria starting at 6:30 PM. In order to vote, please bring a copy of a valid ID (GA driver’s license, e.g.) or a utility bill issued within 60 days of the meeting and showing your name and address.

Absentee Ballot

Members may also vote by absentee ballot. Your ballot along with a copy of one of the forms of identification mentioned above may be delivered to the offices of Tailfin Marketing (1246 Virginia Ave.) by noon on Thursday, September 18 or to the Annual Meeting by its start time at 6:30 PM. Please put your ballot in a sealed envelope with the identification documents separately sealed inside or stapled to the outside. (Please cross out specific account or driver license numbers.) After your residency is verified, the identification documents will be removed and destroyed. Your ballot will remain anonymous.

Click here for a copy of the absentee ballot.

Exterior Improvements Underway at Ponce Kroger

Whatever name you use to refer to it, the Kroger on Ponce has announced it will make major improvements to the parking lot area around the store this fall. The improvements will include construction of a gateway to provide access to the adjacent BeltLine Eastside Trail, a “water quality pond” designed to filter storm water, a repaved parking lot surface and a redesigned entrance that will provide better flow of traffic in and out of the parking lot.

The gateway to connect the parking lot to the BeltLine is under construction (see photos below) and work on the other new features should begin soon. Planners hope to have all work complete by November.

Click here to read a article on the improvements. Click here to view a rendering of what the parking lot will look like when work is complete.

DSC_0748 DSC_0747 DSC_0746

Traffic Alert: Atlanta Moon Ride

AMR logoThe second annual Atlanta Moon Ride will be held this Friday June 13 and will pass through Virginia-Highland. The 6.5 mile ride starts at Park Tavern at 10 PM and proceeds up Kanuga to Virginia Ave. where it turns left. The ride continues along Virginia, taking a right turn at N. Highland Ave. The ride exits the neighborhood at Ponce de Leon Ave.

APD officers will implement lane closures and rolling roadblocks at cross streets along the course route. There will be fixed roadblocks at Virginia/N. Highland and N. Highland/ Ponce de Leon intersections.

Click here for more information on the Atlanta Moon Ride including a graphic of the course route.

Summerfest Tribute Ride: In Memory of Warren Bruno

SummerfestThere could be no better way to celebrate the man and avid cyclist who made Virginia-Highland Summerfest happen than with a celebratory ride through Atlanta’s favorite intown neighborhoods. That’s just what the staff of Atkins Park Restaurant & Bar and Ormsby’s is doing.

profile_warrenbruno122010.jpgIn fitting Warren Bruno style, the restaurants are hosting a bicycle ride during this year’s Summerfest. The ride starts at North Highland Park, at the corner of N. Highland and St. Charles Ave’s. The course continues to Little Five Points, through Old Fourth Ward and onto the BeltLine, into Piedmont Park and over to the Ansley Park Loop. The ride ends, of course, “at home” in Virginia-Highland just in time to enjoy the second day of the annual summer arts and music festival. Riders can take their choice of three loops – anywhere from 9.5 to 19 miles in total. To make sure the course is fun (and just a bit challenging) for all skill levels, the ride starts in waves according to ability, with plenty of markings to follow as well as ride leaders to help along the way.

As an owner of the flagship Atkins Park restaurant and now Ormsby’s, Warren Bruno was one of the founders of Virginia-Highland’s Summerfest. This annual tribute was created to honor and celebrate the man who never missed a chance to bring family, friends and community together – or the chance to enjoy the city by way of bike.

warren_bruno_sidewalk_spray_265hTo participate, riders must be registered with a number. To do so, register online. Fees are $5 for children and $20 for adults. Donations to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society are welcomed in honor of Bruno, and go directly to the Georgia Chain Gang team fundraising efforts. Founded by Bruno, the Georgia Chain Gang team rides in his honor to raise awareness for blood cancer research. Riders are also encouraged to bring their own water bottles, as refills along with food will be provided along the route.

Number pick-up and sign-in for the ride begins at 6:45 AM and the ride starts at 8 AM on Sunday, June 8. To register as a rider, visit the Warren Bruno Summerfest Celebration Ride website or visit the Facebook event page for more information. And, of course, get ready for the perfect celebration of Summerfest, community and the life of Warren Bruno!

Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Graphic credit:

Graphic credit:

By: Elizabeth Weaver

May is mental health awareness month. Although we spend billions of dollars each year as a country on ways to improve our mental health, we may just be scratching the surface when it comes to understanding all the pieces of the puzzle. Thankfully, we have many modern resources to rely on including medicines, talk-therapy, and even some newer approaches like biofeedback.

But new research is taking a closer look at something our gut has been telling us all along – literally. As it turns out, scientists are claiming there is a bidirectional relationship between our stomachs and our brain. We may have all thought to ourselves that stress can upset our tummies, but we are now learning, our tummies can upset our mood as well.

So let’s back up to a time where some medical professionals thought stomach issues caused from stress were fictitious and not worth treating. Treatments were sparse and doctors were fast to dismiss their patients’ so-called phantom symptoms. Fast forward to today, when we are learning that actual physiological changes in the gut can be the cause of stress, depression, anxiety and many other maladies we are all too familiar with as a modern society (1). Several chronic inflammatory intestinal diseases like Crohn’s and diverticulitis are made worse by stress, and indeed may be a psychological and physiological cause of stress themselves. We also now know that keeping a healthy balance of intestinal bacterial flora helps stave off certain contagious diseases (2).

Current scientists are now focusing more of their efforts on understanding this complex relationship between the brain and what some are now referring to as our “second brain.” According to one line of research, certain probiotic supplements replace bad bacteria with good bacteria, which in turn down regulates inflammatory processes caused by stress (3). Another study showed that treatment with the specific probiotics Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum relieved depression and anxiety in a test population (4). These studies and many more like them have unearthed what scientists are now calling the gut-brain axis, a biochemical connection between the two that might explain their interconnectedness.

Although more research is needed at this time to fully realize the intricate relationship between our mood and our stomachs, we can’t ignore their connection anymore. In the spirit of mental health awareness month, take care of your mind, along with your gut*. Both will thank you.

  2. University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). “Probiotics are secret weapon for fighting symptoms of the common cold in college students, study suggests.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2012
  3. BMJ Specialty Journals. “Probiotics Ease Gut Problems Caused By Long Term Stress.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2006
  4. Messaoudi, M, et al. Beneficial psychological effects of a probiotic formulation (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) in healthy human volunteers. Gut Microbes July/August 2011; 2:4, 256-261
  5. Chen, X., Roshan S., and Seong-Tshool H.. “The role of gut microbiota in the gut-brain axis: current challenges and perspectives.” Protein & Cell 4.6 (2013): 403-14.

*Talk to your physician about ways to improve your gut health, and always before taking any medicine or supplements.

Editor’s Note: Elizabeth Weaver is Assistant Director of the Brains & Behavior Program at Georgia State University and editor of GSU’s Brain & Behavior Potential. Elizabeth is a VaHi resident who wrote in asking whether or not she could contribute an article to The Voice. We encourage residents to submit stories or story ideas to us. Email us at with your thoughts.

Dishing With Murphy’s Chef Ian Winslade

Murphys#1Editor’s Note: This is the second in a three-part series by VaHi food blogger Denise Romeo spotlighting the ever-popular Virginia-Highland eating establishment, Murphy’s Restaurant, located at 997 Virginia Avenue. Murphy’s is open Monday through Thursday 11:00am – 10:00pm; Friday 11:00am – 11:00pm; Saturday 8:00am – 11:00pm; and, Sunday 8:00am – 10:00pm. Look for conversations with Murphy’s owner Tom Murphy and Sommelier Michael Kunz in past and future issues of The Voice. Photos courtesy of Denise Romeo. 

The sun is shining brightly and a cool morning breeze tickles the gathering crowd as Chef Ian Winslade of Murphy’s restaurant peels and chops a little known vegetable for his Celeriac And Golden Beet Remoulade. On this sunny Saturday, Chef Winslade has stepped out of his kitchen on the corner of Virginia and North Highland Avenues to demonstrate how to cook with fresh, organic vegetables at the Morningside Farmer’s Market.  (Click here for the recipe.)

winsladeChef Winslade is a major advocate of the farm-to-table movement and strives to cook with locally-sourced ingredients as much as possible. He currently works with four local farms to provide fresh produce for the restaurant explaining that the further the ingredients must travel, the less healthy they are due to the processes used to prolong their shelf life. Chef Winslade plans his menus around four distinct seasons and likes the challenge of working with what is available locally each week: “It forces me to constantly be flexible and think about workable flavor combinations.” He continues in his velvety British accent, “Last year was particularly challenging due to the unseasonably wet Spring. We had planned for a glut of zucchini and tomatoes that never really came in, and our menu reflected those shortages.”

Current menu items for Spring include fresh peas, fava beans and morels.

When asked about the impetus for Murphy’s “Meatless Monday” menu, Chef Winslade explained that cutting meat from your diet, even if it’s just once a week, can dramatically decrease your risk of heart disease. “Meat is hard for your body to digest; giving your body a break each week allows time for it to catch up and heal. It also reduces your carbon footprint and saves natural resources.” He enjoys working with healthy grains such as farro and bulgur, and uses chickpea flour in lieu of less healthy, processed wheat flours.

remouladeMurphy’s has many menu options for vegetarians, vegans, and customers avoiding gluten, and these are all clearly labeled for customers.

“We try to accommodate any dietary restrictions that our customers may have,” Winslade explained. “With few exceptions, all of our dishes can be adjusted to a customer’s needs.”

Chef Winslade went on to say he’s surprised that more people, especially Virginia-Highland residents, do not take advantage of Murphy’s take-out option.

“You can walk in and order almost any menu item for take-out or call in your order for pick-up,” he said. “It is a wonderful way to have a freshly prepared dinner at home even when you don’t have time to cook it yourself. You can even pick up a bottle of wine from the wine shop to go with your meal.”

In addition, members of the Friends of Murphy’s guest loyalty program can accumulate points with take-out purchases as well as in-house dining. To join Friends of Murphy’s, sign up during your next visit to receive a membership card and a signing bonus of 250 points ($10 reward) toward your next visit.

Local food blogger Denise Romeo has lived in the Virginia-Highland area for 24 years. She and her husband, Dom, enjoy spending time together cooking and entertaining. You can read more from Denise on her award winning blog at We Like To Cook!

Master Plan Update

VaHi-Logo-Vertical-RGBBy Jess Windham, VHCA Master Plan Committee Co-Chair

As we continue through the documentation phase of the Master Plan process, planners at Market+Main are currently editing the document to incorporate feedback received since the draft was released on March 10th. A second revised Plan will be posted on Friday, April 4th and subsequently open to comments. At this point in the process, there’s been a lot of feedback and quite a few interesting and informative points have been made, some several times. We are now at a point where we as a neighborhood have a robust document that contains concepts that have been crafted over months, refined, and now edited to fit the Virginia-Highland neighborhood.

After you read through the recommendations in the second draft, we encourage you – as we have in every step of this process – to provide your feedback via the website. This is the primary and best way to voice concerns or praise and to make sure your feedback is taken into account. Every comment has been read and reviewed by many sets of eyes.

On March 23rd, the Virginia-Highland Civic Association hosted an Open House at the old Aurora coffee shop with members of the VHCA board and professional planners from Market+Main available to answer questions. This was added to the original public process planning to allow greater opportunities to learn more about concepts in the Master Plan in a person-to-person format. Comments made at this event have also been considered as the draft that we will see this Friday has been refined. By my tally, about 60 people stopped by to discuss and learn more about plan concepts, not including a few stragglers just looking for a good cup of Joe.

Many residents have had questions about a roundabout and road diet on Monroe and concerns regarding accessory dwellings. In addition to the Open House forum, VHCA wants to provide additional information and clarity on these questions and concerns. As such, we asked Market+Main to put together a Frequently Asked Questions document that addresses the common and recurring questions that have been asked on these and other concepts. This FAQ document will be posted on on April 4th along with the second draft of the Master Plan.

This process began about seven months ago to give this neighborhood a formal voice in planning concepts in the City of Atlanta. The challenge before us was not whether or not the questions being posed would be answered or not; the city has the ultimate responsibility in such matters and has been willing for years to fulfill it, with or without significant community input. The degree of surprise many citizens expressed at learning from the Master Plan about the Monroe Drive road diet – which was  approved twice in the last decade after city processes with public hearings, one that included the BeltLine – illustrates the challenges that accompany getting the word out and the importance of doing so. We have experienced both aspects ourselves in this process and appreciate them both.

That said, in the City of Atlanta, a neighborhood with a Master Plan has a formal voice, an opportunity to argue for much more detailed and specific outcomes, and – even more importantly – a much better chance of getting its fair share of funding for public projects that the city has decided to undertake. Changes are inevitable; this is a grand chance to inform and shape these changes. With that common goal in mind, we hope that you all will review the upcoming second draft on April 4th at and if you like it (or if you don’t), let us know.

VaHi Safety Team Report: March 23, 2014

Annual Citizen’s CourtWatch Training

Learning how our court system works and does not work at times makes for a fascinating and educational Saturday morning.  I will not be able to attend this session this year – but hope that there will be several from VaHi present in courtroom 1D in the Fulton County Courthouse at 185 Central Avenue, SW, ATL 30303 from 8:30 to 12:30.  This is an opportunity for citizens to learn how you can be the eyes and ears of the community in the courtroom.  Please let Reiko Ward, the courtwatch coordinator for the DA’s office, know you will be attending by e-mailing her at   The most convenient place to park is at the Underground garage on MLK right across from the courthouse.

Ansley Mall Warning

I have been notified by my alert and aware Old 4th Ward and Midtown friends that Bobby James Perry is out of jail again and has picked Ansley Mall (mainly in front of the Publix) to hustle for cash.  He was last arrested here on St. Charles Avenue on 9/7/13 when he was found sleeping (or passed out) out on a sidewalk.  He had a warrant out of Bartow County, but I assume that jail sentence has been taken care of and he has found his way back to his old stomping grounds.  He has had a long list of bookings at Rice Street since 1988, mostly involving drugs and thievery in some way or another.  He is NOT wanted for anything now that I know of – but I am writing this to ask you to PLEASE NOT give him money that will just help him to stay here in our midst.  His latest mug shot is at

1001 St. Charles Avenue, NE

This former location of the Gaslight Inn has been repossessed by an unknown bank (at least to me) and is for sale.  The back porch of this beautiful old house is unsecured and now is serving as an urban campground.  I have reported this property to code enforcement, but have not yet heard back from them as to being able to contact the bank for securing the property and to have someone to press tresspassing charges on these intruders..  No – the real estate agent listed on the sign in the front yard has never answered my e-mails or phone calls.

Making 911 Reports

I have been made aware of certain criminal activity here that has gone unreported to APD via a 911 call.  I am referring in particular to intrusions of unlocked vehicles where either nothing or very little has been taken – this is still a violation of private property and Zone 6 needs to know.  These reports serve to establish activity patterns and help Zone 6 know where to enhance personnel coverage.   Calling 911 is the only reliable way to let APD know about crimes and also about suspicious behaviour and individuals.  Do NOT call the Zone 6 precinct office, as they do not know where our Officers are at any given moment – only the 911 call center knows this information.  When you call 911 the first person you talk to is a general operator who ascertains what your call is about and who then either passes it on to AFR for fire and medical situations or to the dispatcher for the APD Zone you are calling from.  The Zone dispatcher knows where all Officers are in that Zone and can find someone to respond to your call as soon as is possible.

EarthDay BeltLine Cleanup 4/19

The details of this cleanup are at One of the target areas for this cleanup will be the infamous bamboo grove across the BeltLine from the Piedmont Park dog park and behind Park and Elmwood Drives.  Hopefully this cleanup will finish the elimination of this hide-out grove that was started by the good folks from Two Urban Licks a couple of years ago.  If you were among the big groups that have participated in these previous year’s cleanup sessions, you will remember the urban jungle state of this now well-used paved and civilized trail.  We now know that these cleanups lead to more paved trailway.  There should be a big turnout from VaHi for this April 19 event.

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 ( VaHi Beat 601 reports for the 2014 weeks 9 and 10 (2/23-3/8).  These reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to raise your level of awareness as to what happens around us everyday.

Aggravated Assault  -  No reported incidents from Beat 601

Auto Theft  -  No reported incidents from Beat 601

Commercial Burglary  -  No reported incidents from Beat 601

Residential Burglary  -  A PDL Avenue residence in the Atkins Park district was entered via a broken kitchen window.  The victim’s backpack was used to haul out many of the stolen items and Larry Burke was arrested with this filled backpack.  Burke is yet another career criminal who has a long record of priors and was just released from Rice Street on 1/7/14 for another burglary charge and struck this house on 2/28/14.  I am hoping for a CourtWatch session when he comes up for his hearings – I’ll be letting you know when.

Commercial Robbery  -  No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Nearby at the Walgreens store at Piedmont and North Avenues, a shoplifter took 4 bottles of wine and once outside passed them on to someone in a waiting car and the car fled,  For whatever reason the shoplifter did not get in the car, but stayed and fought with the security guard.  Now – because of his resistance, he is charged with robbery instead of just shoplifting.

Residential Robbery  -  No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Pedestrian Robbery  -  No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Larceny From Vehicle  -  Reported incidents involved two vehicles on North Highland Avenue and one at the Highland View Apartments on PDL Place.

There were 42 such reported incidents in this time span all over the Zone.

Larceny Other  -  At the Inman School a teacher’s cell phone was taken from her desk, and as the reports reads “some kids called her later, snickering in the background and hung up”.

Nearby, Green’s Liquor Store caught two shoplifters with arrests.  Also our PDL Avenue Kroger and Publix stores caught two shoplifters.

Stay alert, keep ALL parked cars cleaned out at ALL times and enjoy spring.

Meatball Mania Comes to VaHi

Bar Meatball LogoThe meatball mania that’s trending all over the globe has made its way to Atlanta via chef-owner Joey Masi, formerly of Pozole. Masi and cousin Joe Federici are the first to bring polpetti (Italian meatballs) to the Atlanta market in the form of Bar Meatball, which opened this past Thursday March 13th at 1044 Greenwood Avenue (the former location of Pozole).

“We wanted to bring what we grew up with – the meatballs our mothers used to make – to the Atlanta market,” said Masi, a long-time veteran of the Atlanta restaurant scene and former chef-owner of Pozole. “We’ve created a completely affordable menu that reflects our Italian-American heritage.”

JoeyMasiThe offerings are a fun, mixed bag of meatballs ground in-house daily and sourced from local beef and pork purveyors whenever possible. The “classic,” a blend of freshly ground sirloin and brisket with ricotta, crowns a menu that runs the gamut of great balls of fun, from old school sausage and peppers to chicken and rosemary with white wine, all paired with sauces from tomato to mushroom gravy.

Diners can choose four meatballs plus a sauce for a mere $8, then move to sides of house-cut fries or Parmesan mash, as well as “old-school extras” of an antipasto plate sourced from local meat maven The Spotted Trotter, plus fried peppers, fried calamari and Caprese salad – offerings that are fun and affordable. Desserts are highlighted by “Joey’s bag-o-donuts,” Italian zeppole tossed with powdered sugar, New York style, and mix-and-match house-made ice cream sandwiches. The cocktail program offers specialty drinks such as the “Milano mule,” a cool blend of Tito’s vodka, Aranciata Rossa, fresh lime and ginger, as well as Italian vino and beer.

Interior1The Pozole space has been remodeled by designer Christopher Bailey, with a sense of old-school elegance, featuring subway tiles and an elegant arched bar

“We want people to feel at home, and walk away happy – and full – without blowing their budget,” said Masi. All of Bar Meatball’s menu options, from meatballs to sliders and salads, are $10 and under.

VaHi resident Kay Stephenson and her husband Mark were among those dining at Bar Meatball when it opened last Thursday. Here are her comments about their experience:

Interior“The place had a good crowd when we arrived around 8:00 pm. We couldn’t get a seat at the bar so we sat at a table in the main room (right next to our next door neighbors as it happened). We tried the calamari, two kinds of meatballs (beef and pork sausage), two sauces (classic tomato and bolo), broccoli rabe and white beans with greens, and a pretty awesome ice cream sandwich. We will definitely go back. I think it is a great addition to the neighborhood, and will be good early for families or later for bar and late supper crowd. We met the new owner to this partnership, Joe Federici (Joe Masi from Pozole is still running the kitchen). They have a couple of interesting beers on tap, a decent wine offering, and Mark said his Maker’s Manhattan was really good. Finally, I have to say that for a first night, the service was pretty flawless. By all means, check it out. I’m going back to try the lasagna, which is made to order and sounds a bit like the open faced lasagna they used to make at Atkins Park many eons ago.”



About Bar Meatball

Owners Joey Masi and Joe Federici bring the meatball mania that’s sweeping the globe to Atlanta with Bar Meatball, a fun, casual meatball bar that offers a unique taste of Italian polpetti (meatballs) to Atlanta’s Virginia-Highland neighborhood. Located at 1044 Greenwood Ave., N.E., Bar Meatball is open Monday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to midnight; Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.; Saturday from noon to 2:00 a.m. and Sunday from noon to 11 pm. For more information, call 404-228-2901 or visit

Click here to view the front side of Bar Meatball’s menu. Click here to view the flip side.

Photography courtesy of Isadora Pennington.

Budweiser Clydesdales Come to VaHi!

DSC_0146Virginia-Highland residents were treated to a mid-day surprise visit by the Budweiser Clydesdales yesterday.

The iconic horses are in town for an appearance in Atlanta’s St. Patrick’s Day parade this weekend. The massive steeds, their attendants and their magnificent beer-laden carriage assembled at Manuel’s Tavern around 3 PM, then headed north on N. Highland Avenue. Stops were made at the Chevron Station at the corner of N. Highland and Virginia, Limerick Junction, Atkins Park and Neighbor’s. At each stop a supply of Budweiser – freshly brewed yesterday morning at the Anheuser Busch plant in Cartersville – was delivered. Hundreds of VaHi residents lined N. Highland, cheering the beautiful horses on as they made their deliveries.

DSC_0128Click here to view a video of the Clydesdales arriving at the Chevron Station to the delight of the gathered crowd. Click here for an album of photos from yesterday’s visit.

Street Captains Help Keep Residents Safe and Connected

By: Eleanor Barrineau

Some of VaHi's Street Captains pose for a group photo at a recent meeting.

Some of VaHi’s Street Captains pose for a group photo at a recent meeting.

Did you know that Virginia-Highland is one of the few neighborhoods in Atlanta – maybe the only one – that is connected by a network of Street Captains for almost every street? It’s our own unique version of a Neighborhood Watch.  Each Captain passes along John Wolfinger’s safety reports, serves as a focal point for addressing safety concerns, helps coordinate block parties and other get-togethers, and welcomes new neighbors.  In providing input for the neighborhood Master Plan that is under development, Virginia-Highland residents said they wanted to ”Be known as a neighborhood that values and cares for its neighbors.”  Interestingly, this stated goal of “neighborliness” has not often been listed as a top priority in other neighborhoods’ Master Plans.  There are many ways in which our neighborliness manifests itself, and our Street Captain network is one of those.

Some recent examples of activities coordinated by Street Captains:

  • A street-wide yard sale held annually and coordinated by Rosedale Drive Captain Kay Stephenson (this year’s sale is coming up on March 29th and will include Rosedale Road and Arlington Place as well – check it out!). These yard sales are a great opportunity for folks to get out of their houses and catch up with neighbors while also searching for bargains.
  • Two of our Captains have been involved with cleaning up the alley between St. Charles and Ponce – Brian McGuire of St. Charles Avenue has organized clean-ups of the paved portion (Maiden Lane) and Angela Sturdivant of the 737 Barnett condos has helped coordinate recent clean-up efforts in the unpaved portion now called Maiden Trail.
  • Neighbors on Highland Terrace, well organized by Captain Deirdre Fleming, are planning another Block Party.
  • One of our “Street Captain Heroes” is Jo Ann Zyla of Elmwood Drive.  Jo Ann not only helps keep tabs on parking issues surrounding Piedmont Park events, but also coordinates get-togethers and maintains a street directory for use by the residents.  As John Wolfinger said, “she has just become the mama for the whole street.”

These are just a few examples – thanks to all of our Street Captains for their efforts to keep us connected and improve our safety and quality of life.

Don’t know who your Street Captain is?  Contact to find out.

Although we have most streets covered, we still need Captains for most of Ponce Place and for the stretch of Monroe that falls in Virginia-Highland (10th to Amsterdam).  Contact the email address above if you live on either of those streets and are interested in finding out more about being a Street Captain.

Also, Street Captains love it when others on the street pitch in – so please let your Captain know if you can help!

Direct Primary Care: A Healthy Alternative

By: Nicholas J. Beaulieu, M.D.

Dr. Nick Beaulieu

Dr. Nick Beaulieu

Changes in our health care system are impacting the patient/physician experience, and future demands will further challenge your ability to access preferred providers. Many new options, including those available through, may not enable your continued access to providers of choice, as many physicians are opting out of the new government sponsored plans.

With the March 31st deadline of the individual mandate for health care coverage required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), all Americans not enrolled in compliant “minimum essential” coverage will be subject to annual penalties assessed with federal income tax returns.

Dr. Beulieu and Amy Hatfield, PA.

Dr. Beaulieu and Amy Hatfield, PA.

There is a general movement toward greater financial efficiency in the health care marketplace. Direct primary care is an emerging care model that removes the insurance “middleman” from your primary care provider relationship. On a much larger scale, think Kaiser Permanente and, more recently in greater Atlanta, the Piedmont Wellstar Health Plan, designed to exclude a third-party insurance company. With direct primary care in a local, independent practice, physicians can remain truly invested in their patients’ health and evade the corporatization of medicine.

Direct primary care offers primary, preventive and chronic care and ensures easy and timely access to your primary care provider. Routine primary care is provided without the administrative burden of insurance approvals, filings and claims. Many direct primary care physician practices offer a membership program that delivers numerous benefits to those who join.

HUCFM_DSC2745_rainydayHealthAlliance, a direct primary care membership program brought to you by Highland Urgent Care and Family Medicine (HUCFM), is a fresh, affordable alternative to the new health plans and coverage now required by the ACA. HUCFM is a local, trusted and independently owned physician practice that has served this community for more than 10 years with an exceptional staff of board certified physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.

When combined with a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), HealthAlliance membership offers a cost-effective option that will satisfy the ACA individual mandate.  An HDHP is a lower premium plan specifically designed to cover unpredictable events outside the scope of primary care, including specialty care and hospitalizations.

Primary care is the foundation of good health and key to the prevention of disease and disability. It includes preventive care, treatment of acute and chronic illness, routine treatment of common injuries and conditions, and ongoing health maintenance.  HealthAlliance is a source for the care you need at an affordable price. Visit the HealthAlliance website to learn more.

Highland Urgent Care and Family Medicine / HealthAlliance

920 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30306


Second Clean Up for Neglected VaHi Alleyway



Passing along the following from Christopher Juckins and the other residents who have been working recently to improve conditions along the alleyway that runs between Ponce and St. Charles east of Barnett (now dubbed ‘Maiden Trail’). Thanks to these residents for giving of their time and talents to make a difference in the neighborhood.

Saturday March 1 was another successful day for the continuing cleanup of the St. Charles/Ponce de Leon alleyway, located between Frederica and Barnett Streets. About fifteen residents who live nearby – some of whom live on other blocks – turned out with great enthusiasm to clear brush, debris, and collect several more bags of trash and recyclables from this common property recently nicknamed “Maiden Trail”.

The group’s goal is to make the alleyway safely passable for pedestrians, off-road bicyclists, and, most importantly, emergency vehicles. Residents have requested an increased police presence in the area to prevent the return of illegal encampments and deter crime.

...and after.

…and after.

Before and after pictures (two shown here) are quite impressive, with many areas of thick underbrush and overgrown weeds completely cleared by the volunteers. The group is working with the VHCA to find cost-effective ways of mulching or removing the large areas of cut brush that were created.

The next cleanup is scheduled for Saturday April 5 at 9:00 AM. Continuing feedback on the alley is encouraged so that the best and most sustainable long-term solution for the neighborhood can be implemented. Please email any comments to for more information.

The group also wishes to thank Emile Blau of American Roadhouse who once again generously supplied breakfast meals and coffee for the volunteers.

Trees Atlanta VaHi Planting Set for February 22


Editor’s Note: A headline for this article in our Voice e-newsletter listed a February 15 date for this event. That date is incorrect. The correct date is February 22. We apologize for the confusion.

Trees Atlanta will conduct a major planting event in Virginia-Highland later this month, and you’re invited to help.

Anyone who wants to assist with the planting should RSVP by clicking here. Volunteers will meet at New Highland Park  (corner of N. Highland Ave. and St. Charles Pl.) at 9 AM Saturday February 22. Please wear work clothes and bring work gloves. All other supplies will be provided.

DSCF0011This planting event will focus primarily on the following VaHi streets: St. Louis Pl., St. Charles Pl., St. Augustine Pl., Briarcliff Pl. and Greenwood Ave. Most of the trees to be planted will be silver maples (acer saccharinum), trident maples (acer buergerianum) or crape myrtles (lagerstroemia indica).

VaHi resident Stefanie Coffin worked with Trees Atlanta to organize the planting, as she has done several times previously.

vahighbillkid205“These annual plantings focus on areas of the neighborhood with high density and traffic to help mitigate the impact of pollution from autos,” Coffin says.

“Focus is on street trees that survive,” Coffin says. “The average life of a street tree is around 17 years, so tree selection is a big part of the planning process.”

Coffin points out that funding for the annual planting comes from the yearly grant given to Trees Atlanta by the VHCA and a generous contribution from UMC Cub Scout Pack #17, as well as recompense funds paid to the city by anyone found to have taken down or destroyed a tree illegally (these latter funds flow through the Tree Conservation Commission).

The planting event is part of Trees Atlanta’s NeighborWoods program, in which the non-profit partners with neighborhoods across metro Atlanta to plant native species, raise awareness about the benefit of trees, and create a core group of tree advocates. NeighborWoods is a collaborative effort to replenish and sustain the tree canopy, while also educating the community on tree care and management.

Click here to view a complete list of what kind of trees will be planted where.

Residents Clean Up VaHi Alleyway


Volunteers gather for a group photo before the clean up.

About a dozen Virginia-Highland residents braved chilly temperatures yesterday – but fortunately no snow – when they met to clean up the section of alleyway between St. Charles and Ponce de Leon avenues that runs from Barnett St. to Frederica St.

Residents Alicia Cardillo and Chris Juckins organized the clean up. Volunteers collected enough bags of trash to completely fill the back of a pickup truck. In addition to trash, several bags of recyclables were collected, and some overgrown brush was cleared.

A future event is planned to clear more brush and make the alleyway safely navigable for vehicles. It is hoped the increased traffic in the alley will discourage the homeless encampments and other undesirable activities that take place along the alleyway.

The group thanks Emile Blau of American Roadhouse who generously supplied biscuits and coffee for the volunteers. Supplies were donated by Keep Atlanta Beautiful, Keep Virginia-Highland Beautiful and residents.













...and after.

…and after.









Scroll down to view more photos from the clean up (thanks to Chris Juckins and Kay Stephenson for these). Click here to see more photos of what the area looked like before the clean up.

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Atlanta Women’s Chorus to Perform at Druid Hills Presbyterian Church

Passing this notice along from our friends at Druid Hills Presbyterian Church:

The Atlanta Women’s Chorus will perform Finding Her Here: In and Out of Love at DHPC on Saturday February 8 at 8 PM.

The subject of love in the lives of women is explored in this debut performance. From Dante to Broadway, this moving collection will feature music that celebrates love found and love lost, and will showcase Atlanta’s newest vocal ensemble with something for everyone. Be there as history happens; take in the beauty of women’s voices, rising and bursting into song and celebrate the debut of this new chorus!

Tickets at

Click here for more information.

Summerfest 2014 Artist Application Site Goes Live January 22

SummerfestLogo14Artists who want to exhibit at this year’s Virginia-Highland Summerfest can complete an online application to do so starting tomorrow January 22. Applications will be accepted through March 24.

Click here starting tomorrow morning to complete the application or visit for more information.

This year’s Summerfest is set for June 7-8.

Dignitaries On Hand for Groundbreaking of BeltLine Gateway to Historic Fourth Ward Park

Beltline_logo_finalMayor Kasim Reed, BeltLine President and CEO Paul Morris, BeltLine Partnership Executive Director Valerie Wilson, and Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner were among the dignitaries on hand for this morning’s groundbreaking ceremony for the gateway path that will connect the BeltLine’s Eastside Trail with popular Historic Fourth Ward Park.


Mayor Reed addresses the crowd.

The ADA-accessible path will begin across from the trail’s Angier Springs Road access point and wind down the western slope toward the park, connecting at Dallas Street and North Angier Avenue (see artist rendering below). The design includes landscaping, retaining walls, lighting, and green infrastructure stormwater design.

DSC_0052Construction is expected to begin immediately with completion estimated for some time this summer.

Funding for the Eastside Trail Gateway comes from generous contributions from the following Atlanta BeltLine Partnership donors: A Friend of the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership; the R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation; the John N. Goddard Foundation; and the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation.

Click here for more information on the BeltLine and the new gateway.

Artist rendering of gateway courtesy Atlanta BeltLine

Artist rendering of gateway courtesy Atlanta BeltLine


Ponce City Market


Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner addresses the crowd.


BeltLine Partnership Executive Director Valerie Wilson addresses the crowd.


BeltLine President and CEO Paul Morris

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Final Community Workshop for VaHi Master Plan Set for January 22

IMG_6362The final community workshop for the Virginia-Highland Master will be held January 22nd at Inman Middle School from 7:00 – 9:00 pm. This will be your best chance to provide in-person input into the Master Plan and ask questions of the planning consultants before the plan is drafted.

During the workshop, our neighborhood planning consultants will provide an update on where the 6-month community input process stands and facilitate a community-wide discussion on the topics that will be addressed in the plan. Topics include land use and zoning, transportation, open space and environment, urban design, historic resources, public services, economic development, and education for the community.  Breakout stations will enable you to provide input to our professional planners on what you would like to see in our neighborhood in the years to come.

Don’t miss your chance to hear about the plan in person and provide input on your priorities and vision for VaHi!

The Virginia-Highland Master Plan is a comprehensive community planning and visioning process initiated by the Virginia Highland Civic Association for the purposes of establishing a compelling vision for the future of this vibrant Atlanta neighborhood.

This 6-month process will leverage community input to generate a strategic plan for land use and zoning, transportation, open space and environment, urban design, historic resources, public services, economic development and education for the community. It will be a key document in securing project funding in the future.

Please visit for more details or contact Jess Windham and Jenifer Keenan at


Celebration of Ryan Hidinger’s Life Scheduled for Sunday

Ryan Hidinger, chef at Staplehouse restaurant and co-founder with his wife Jennifer of The Giving Kitchen – a nonprofit that provides assistance to metro Atlanta restaurant workers in financial need – passed away last week after a year long struggle with cancer. You can read more about Ryan and why so many people were saddened by his passing in this Access Atlanta article written by John Kessler.

Ryan’s friends and family have organized a celebration of his life that will be held at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot this Sunday January 19 from 11 AM – 2 PM. Scroll down for details.



VaHi Resident Named to Most Influential Georgians List


Photo credit: Jason Getz, AJC

Georgia Trend’s annual list of the most influential Georgians was released recently, and a Virginia-Highland resident’s name is on it.

Mark Becker, president of Georgia State Univerity, is one of 75 Georgians named to the list. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“Since beginning his tenure as GSU’s seventh president in January 2009, Becker has led this 100-year-old institution of some 32,000 students into a period of marked growth and advancement. Under his leadership, Georgia State’s graduation rate has already increased by 10 percent, and the university is becoming a national model for undergraduate education.”

For those who don’t know, Mark is married to Laura Voisinet who has worked tirelessly to reduce graffiti in Virginia-Highland as chair of the the neighborhood’s graffiti abatement task force.

To see the rest of the list, click here.

Congratulations, Mark Becker!!

Traffic Alert: Atlanta Christmas 5K Road Race Coming to VaHi December 21

DSC03397Residents should be advised that the Atlanta Christmas 5K Road Race returns to Virginia-Highland on Saturday December 21.

The race will start at 8 AM. Runners will gather for the start across from the YWCA at the intersection of N. Highland and Adair avenues, wind their way through VaHi and wrap things up in the parking lot of Morningside Presbyterian Church. A turn-by-turn course route can be found below.

Morning-of-the race packet pick-up is available at the YWCA for runners who did not pick up their packets at Phidippides. There will be no full road closures for this event – just the usual partial closures and roadblocks at crossing intersections.

For more information, click here.

Turn-By-Turn Course Route

  1. Start—North Highland & Adair (line up on Adair) across from YWCA
  2. Turn RIGHT on North Highland
  3. Turn right on Greenwood Avenue
  4. Turn RIGHT on Ponce de Leon Place
  5. CROSS Virginia Avenue
  6. Turn right on Elkmont
  7. Bear LEFT at Elkmont/ Brookridge Drive
  8. Turn right on Brookridge, crossing the Orme Park bridge (water stop on the right)
  9. Bear left to Amsterdam Avenue
  10. Turn LEFT on Amsterdam
  11. Amsterdam merges to Courtenay
  12. Turn left on Greenland
  13. Greenland merges to Hillpine
  14. Turn right on Wayne Avenue
  15. Turn LEFT on Courtenay
  16. Turn LEFT on North Highland
  17. Turn LEFT on North Morningside Drive
  18. Turn right into the lot at Morningside Presbyterian Church

What’s Appropriate for that Big Blue Recycling Bin?

recyclingworldPassing along the following from John Wolfinger regarding what’s appropriate – and what’s not – to place in your blue recycling bin:

The City of Atlanta is having problems with our recycling program, in that far too many city residents are placing items in the large blue recycling bins that are not intended to be there. The single stream recycler the city uses is spending way too much time separating all the garbage and trash from the recyclables. Evidently the biggest problem comes from the plastic shopping bags which tend to fly around and get caught in the conveyor lines. These bags can be taken to Publix stores for recycling.

If you are in doubt as to where to take certain items for recycling, check with This is a great website with all sorts of useful recycling information.

Also, the Keep Atlanta Beautiful recycling sessions in Buckhead and the Old 4th Ward continue to grow as more and more folks are bringing items to these convenient locations once every month. Go to for details. Even though it was a miserable rainy day this past Saturday, we had a great turnout on Irwin Street in the 4th Ward. Now is a great time to start accumulating items to bring in January – styrofoam from gifts packaging, old electronics being discarded in favor of new models, batteries, and old paperwork from income tax filings, left-over paint you will never use again, etc.

The more items that can be kept out of our green trash cans – the less money that the city has to spend on transportation to ship this trash to distant landfills. It is a matter of dollars and cents.


The City of Atlanta and Mayor Reed are on a continued mission for Atlanta to become a top-tier recycling city and divert 90 percent of municipal solid waste by 2020.

In a statement to metro communities, the Department of Public Works said they want to, “ensure that all residents are a part of the effort to recycle more and protect our recycling stream from contamination.”

Here are the City of Atlanta’s “big three recycling reminders:”


- Keep the cart clean & dry! Rinse out all food containers

- Keep your cart lid closed AT ALL TIMES!

Also, please note that beginning this week, residents who have contaminated their recycling will receive a red “violation” sticker issued by Solid Waste Operators on their recycling cart, and a Contamination Notice door knocker will be issued by Solid Waste Supervisors. To ensure residents are aware of what is accepted and what is not, graphics are included on the back of the door knocker. By taking note of what actually can and cannot be recycled, we can help keep the recycling stream clean of contamination and working efficiently.

Atlanta BeltLine Eastside 10K Road Race Set for December 7

BLP_Runningseries_logo (2)Passing this along from our friends at the Atlanta BeltLine:

Atlanta BeltLine Running Series Announces Eastside 10K on Saturday, Dec. 7

Peachtree Qualifier Event Also Features Alumni Tailgate and Neighborhood Challenges

ATLANTA (Oct. 8, 2013) The Atlanta BeltLine Running Series(R) announced today its third annual Atlanta BeltLine Eastside 10K will take place on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. A Peachtree Qualifier, the race will kick off at Stoveworks at 112 Krog Street Northeast  Atlanta, GA 30307 at 10 a.m. Race day activities include the highly-popular College Alumni Tailgate Challenge and the Neighborhood Challenge.

Featured Image

Photo credit: Christopher T. Martin

“As a Peachtree Qualifier, the demand for the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside 10K has been enormous, and even sold out last year,” said Atlanta BeltLine Running Series Race Director Dan Popovic. “Since the Peachtree Road Race began assigning start positions based on performance in qualifier races, this ups the ante on the value of participation to the running community.”

This run/walk on the Eastside Trail winds through the Inman Park, Midtown, Old Fourth Ward, Poncey Highland, and Virginia Highland neighborhoods.  Participants will pass by the new Historic Fourth Ward Park and Skate Park, take in beautiful vistas of downtown and midtown Atlanta, travel an off-road stretch of the Atlanta BeltLine corridor, and enjoy a jaunt through Piedmont Park.

“The Eastside Trail is the hottest thing to happen to Atlanta in years. Every week, thousands of Atlantans use the Eastside Trail for fitness, fun, access and connectivity,” said Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Executive Director Valarie Wilson.  “We hope to see participants of all fitness levels running and walking the Eastside 10K.”

Race Day Activities

  • Alumni Tailgate Challenge – Coinciding with the day of the SEC Championship and Championship Saturday, the Eastside 10K features an exciting Tailgate Challenge that encourages college football fans to represent their schools and enjoy a rigorous run before heading into the evening’s football programming.
  • Neighborhood Challenge – Atlanta neighborhood associations will compete for a $500 cash purse to be divided among the fastest, largest, and most spirited neighborhood teams.  “Atlanta’s neighborhood associations are rallying at the opportunity to compete for BeltLine bragging rights and potentially win some cash to support their community,” said Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Program Director, Rob Brawner.
Running by Ponce City Market

Photo credit: Christopher T. Martin

More details about the Atlanta BeltLine Running Series – including the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside 10K, challenges and other races, can be found at Participants are encouraged to register by December 4, when registration will increase from $38 to $45. Proceeds benefit the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership.

About the Atlanta BeltLine

The Atlanta BeltLine is the most comprehensive economic development effort ever undertaken in the City of Atlanta and among the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment and mobility projects currently underway in the United States. The Atlanta BeltLine is a sustainable redevelopment project that will provide a network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit along a historic 22-mile railroad corridor circling downtown and connecting many neighborhoods directly to each other. Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) is the entity tasked with planning and executing the implementation of the Atlanta BeltLine in partnership with other public and private organizations, including City of Atlanta departments.

About the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership

The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership (ABLP) is a non-profit organization committed to raising funds from private and philanthropic sources to support the Atlanta BeltLine, working with the community and partners to raise general awareness and support, and serving as a catalyst to mobilize resources to achieve the positive social impacts of the Atlanta BeltLine vision. For more information on the Atlanta BeltLine, please visit

Meeting Reminder: Historic District Exploration for Two Virginia-Highland Subdivisions

VHLogo_color_horiz_letterheadWhat: #3 in a series of informational meetings regarding exploration of historic district designation for two Virginia-Highland subdivisions. This meeting is primarily for residents in Adair Park living on the North side of Adair Ave., the East side of Todd Rd., and all of Rupley Drive – but any interested party may attend. Please see the map found on our website (link below) to see if you live in the contemplated district.

When: Thursday Nov. 7 – 7 PM

Where: Garrison Hall at Church of Our Saviour (opposite the fire station at the corner of H. Highland and Los Angeles)

Note: If this topic is new to you, please click here to view the original detailed announcement regarding this process. Additional information can be found by clicking here. 

VaHi Triangle Island Fall Clean-Up

A handful of volunteers met at the triangle island in front of Taco Mac this past Sunday and spent a couple of hours sprucing up the VaHi landmark for the fall and winter.

Trash was picked up from inside and around the island, weeds and tired spring annuals were removed, new winter annuals planted near the Virginia-Highland sign and some new pine straw put down. The temporary fencing that’s done a so-so job of keeping folks off the plantings was removed in preparation for a yet-to-be-determined more permanent solution to the problem.

Scroll down to see a few photos from the clean-up.

Thanks to all those who showed up to help!





Volunteers took time to use bolt cutters to cut same frayed wire ends on this poorly-anchored cleat. Safety hazard addressed!

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VaHi Safety Team Report: October 14, 2013

By: John Wolfinger

Neighborhood Cleanup Planned for Nov. 2

Keep Virginia Highland Beautiful, an independent coalition of concerned businesses and residents, has announced a community fall cleanup on Saturday morning, November 2, from 8 AM until Noon. Meet at the patio of the American Roadhouse restaurant at 8 AM for coffee and pastries and to get assignments to fan out along the North Highland business corridor. RSVP at either or at their Facebook page

If you are involved with a church, school, service, business or other such group – please consider this as an invitation to join in to make this morning a resounding success. If you also would like to self-organize a cleanup for other specific neighborhood areas – please let us know so you can be worked into the total effort for this day. Our previous cleanups have made a significant difference – let’s make this the best one yet.

What does this cleanup have to do with public safety? A lot – in that I am a confirmed believer of the “broken windows theory of crime prevention” – read about this at

In the meantime before the cleanup – we urge business and property owners to take a critical look at the area from your front door to the street and make an extra effort to clean up broken glass, cigarette butts and trash every day. This also apples to residents by making sure your property is well groomed all the way to the street. As you take your daily walk, take a plastic bag with you to gather up litter as you walk.

A special thanks goes out to Rad Slough of Urban Body for continually cleaning up the west end of Maiden Lane. If your business or residence backs up to this street, please consider partnering with Rad to keep this street even cleaner.

Cell Phone and I-Pad Thefts

These devices continue to be stolen from unwary addicted users every day all over the city. Many are stolen as they are laid down unwatched. Display these personal electronic devices cautiously in public. A recent such theft incident in Buckhead is documented at This caution also applies to the BeltLine – this popular path has been free of incidents lately, but don’t tempt fate.

Residential Security Camera Systems

Two very recent incidents were captured on high-resolution camera systems. The stories at  and Congrats to Zone 5′s Lieutenant Cantin for becoming a nationally known crime fighter via this film.

These camera systems are increasingly becoming more and more sophisticated with very clear images – but I am not knowledgeable about such electronic gear. If anyone out there would like to write up a short blurb about these new cameras, I would be glad to share with everyone in the community.

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 ( crime stats for our VaHi Beat 601 for the 2013 weeks of 37, 38 and 39 (9/8 – 9/28). These reports are now meant to scare anyone, but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday and to raise your level of alertness. Note that this report contains 3 weeks of stats, instead of the usual 2 weeks – life has gotten in my way and I’ve just gotten behind in compiling a report.

Aggravated Assault: No reported incidents from Beat 601

Auto Theft: A 2008 Toyota Camry was stolen on Virginia Avenue and a scooter was taken from Briarcliff Court.

Commercial Burglary: No reported incidents from Beat 601

Residential Burglary: No reported incidents from Beat 601

Commercial Robbery: No reported incidents from Beat 601

Pedestrian Robbery: No reported incidents from Beat 601

Larceny From Vehicle: Vehicles were entered on PDL Place, Virginia Circle, Drewry Street, Virginia Avenue, PDL Avenue, Los Angeles Avenue (2), and North Highland Avenue (2).  In this 3 week total, there were 120 vehicles entered for theft all over Zone 6. Imagine that if everyone adhered to the Clean Car Campaign – how much more time Zone 6 Officers would have to spend patrolling, instead of writing up auto larceny reports. This is one of the easiest crimes to prevent – yet this category continually drives our crime stats upward every week. And – we all pay for this with higher insurance rates. Please warn your out-of-the-neighborhood visitors to clean out their cars before leaving their parked cars. The same goes for your lawn service guys – all equipment in the back of their trucks needs to be chained down.

Larceny Other: An unwatched cell phone was taken at an un-named PDL Avenue business.  Four unwatched cell phones were taken from 4 student football players while they were exercising in the gym. The North Highland Avenue CVS store spotted a shoplifter, but he got away.

Do you lock your car doors while pumping gas?  At Buddy’s gas station on North Avenue a purse was stolen from the front seat while one perp distracted the gas pumper and another took a purse from the front seat and both fled.  At a gas station on Boulevard – one perp asked the pumper “what you need?” and his accomplice took a laptop from the front seat and both fled.

At the Edgewood Retail District Target store, an unwatched cell phone was taken from a shopping cart.

Stay alert and enjoy this wonderful fall weather.

John Wolfinger: Atlanta Police Foundation 2013 Citizen of the Year!

Photos courtesy of Kay Stephenson.

Rosedale Dr. street captain Kay Stephenson, Peggy Denby, John Wolfinger and street captain coordinator Eleanor Barrineau (left to right)

Left to right: Rosedale Dr. Street Captain Kay Stephenson, Midtown/Ponce Security Alliance Director Peggy Denby, John Wolfinger and VaHi Street Captain Coordinator Eleanor Barrineau.

Virginia-Highland resident, former VHCA board member and VaHi Safety Team director John Wolfinger has been named APD and Atlanta Police Foundation Citizen of the Year for 2013. Wolfinger was presented with a plaque by Mayor Kasim Reed and APD Chief George Turner at the foundation’s annual “Crime is Toast” Breakfast held September 24 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Wolfinger was recognized for his leadership in building VaHi’s public safety network, which serves as a model for similar programs in other Atlanta neighborhoods. Now retired, much of this work was done while Wolfinger served on the VHCA board, chairing the Safety Committee. Also mentioned was Wolfinger’s implementation of a unique program that allows residents to have packages delivered to local businesses when they aren’t at home to receive them in person. Packages left unattended on a doorstep can alert potential thieves to the fact that there might be no one home, increasing the likelihood the home will be burglarized.

Wolfinger received his award from Mayor Kasim Reed and APC Chief George Turner

Wolfinger received his award from Mayor Kasim Reed and APD Chief George Turner.

The presentation to Wolfinger came at the end of an emotional ceremony that included the awarding of Purple Hearts to two officers wounded this year in the line of duty, and a memorial tribute for Officers Richard Halford and Shawn Smiley who were killed in a helicopter crash earlier this year while searching for a missing child.

“I’m still in awe that I was picked out of public safety geeks from all over Atlanta to be honored” Wolfinger commented. “My selection, though, is really a tribute to all our dedicated Street Captains, and the citizens from their watch areas who really make the Safety Team function every day in some way. The unselfish teamwork in Virginia-Highland is what has made our neighborhood watch system the largest and most active in the city, and what many other neighborhoods are striving to achieve. I’m the first to admit that our system isn’t perfect. For example, our fluid population makes it close to impossible to reach everyone with the Safety Reports. Unfortunately, we’re just not reaching so many of our young renters who don’t stay at the same address for very long. Often times these folks just don’t get to know their neighbors well and so they remain the ones who are very often the victims of crime.”

IMGP3347“The Crime is Toast breakfast also reminded me that even though we are in a big city,” Wolfinger continued, “Atlanta is also very much like a small town, as I saw quite a few police officers and civilians I know from all over the city. Everyone who attended has a keen interest in helping APD become a better force and advancing safety efforts in their own neighborhoods and businesses. The powerful force that the Atlanta Police Foundation has become has been a unifying agent in connecting the business community with APD for better overall safety practices in the city.”

We know we speak for everyone in Virginia-Highland when we say a heartfelt thank-you to John for all he’s done for our community.

VHCA Education Committee Offers Thoughts on Search for New APS Superintendent

110713063635_NewAPS-LogoOn Monday, September 9th, the Virginia-Highland Civic Association Education Committee submitted a letter to Ann Cramer, chair of the Atlanta Public School Superintendent Search committee. The letter outlines some of the experience and qualities the committee would like to see in the new superintendent.

The Atlanta Public School Board hired Superintendent Erroll Davis on July 1, 2011. In December, 2012 the board extended Davis’s contract from June 30, 2013 to as long as December, 2014. In July 2013, the APS Board of Education dismissed its previous superintendent search firm, ProAct Search, and in August 2013, two new firms were awarded the contract: Atlanta-based BoardWalk Consulting and Philadelphia-based Diversified Search.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Cramer said, ”We will not begin to bring any kind of serious candidates to the table until after the election November with the intent that the new school board installed in January will make that selection hopefully in February or early March.”

Click here to read a copy of the education committee’s letter.

Mayor Introduces New BeltLine Path Force Unit


Mayor Kasim Reed addresses the crowd.

Mayor Kasim Reed formally introduced the new 15-person BeltLine Task Force bicycle patrol unit at a press conference today at Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark.

“The BeltLine will be secure,” Reed said during his comments. “We are going to do whatever we can in my administration to make it safe and keep it safe.”

The Mayor acknowledged the critical importance of the BeltLine to Atlanta’s social and economic future and pledged to do whatever is necessary to keep the project’s trails and parks safe, including additional lighting under bridges, video surveillance, and additional signage.

The BeltLine path force was funded by a $1.8 million federal grant which was contingent upon the APD using post-9/11 military veterans on the force. To comply with the grant requirement and still provide the most experienced possible force for the BeltLine, the APD promoted existing officers with military experience to the new Path Force while replacing those positions with recruits who also served in the military.


The new BeltLine Path Force patrol unit (bicycle and mounted).

Other dignitaries who spoke at the press conference included Atlanta Police Chief George Turner, Parks Commissioner George Dusenbury, and new Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. President and CEO Paul Morris.

Click here to read an AJC article about today’s press conference.

Click here to read an article about today’s press conference from the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. website.

Click here to read a VaHi Patch article about today’s press conference.

The Voice was the only media present in June when the Path Force unit went through bicycle training at the offices of Diversified Metal Fabricators on Pylant Street in VaHi. Click here to read an article about and see photographs from the training.

Scroll down to see a few pictures from today’s press conference, or click here to see the entire online library of pictures from the conference.

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Agenda for June 10, 2013 VHCA Board Meeting

Here’s the proposed agenda for tonight’s meeting of the VHCA Board of Directors:

Virginia-Highland Civic Association BoD Monthly Meeting

7:00 PM;  Monday, June 10, 2013; Ponce de Leon Library

Proposed Agenda

Call to Order

Adoption of Agenda and Minutes

Reports from Police and Fire Representatives

City of Atlanta Officials

Other Elected Officials and Guests

  • Alex Wan, Atlanta City Council District 6
  • Madigan McGillicuddy, Acting Director, Ponce de Leon Library

Planning Committee – Lola Carlisle


  • V-13-021;  960 Highland Terrace NE  - deferral requested by applicant
  • V-13-077;  770 Greenwood Ave. NE  - deferral requested by applicant
  • V-13-092;  882  Highland Terrace NE
  • V-13-093;  554 Orme Circle NE

Summerfest – Arturo Cruz-Tucker and Pam Papner

Safety Committee – Peggy Berg

  • Sidewalks update and funding proposal – Peggy Berg
  • Meeting with Park Atlanta

Parks –  Lauren Wilkes-Fralick

  • John Howell Park update

New Business

Calendar Items – Lola Carlisle

  • Streets Alive: October 6
  • VHCA General Meeting: September 12
  • VHCA Organizational Meeting: September 29
  • Tour of Homes: December 7-8


30 Additional Historic Plat Maps Added

Houses once stood on the land that is now John Howell Park, and the Inman School's trailers and playing fields. This plat mapped out the land lots for those houses.

About a year ago, we posted 22 historic plat maps of various subdivisions that are now part of Virginia-Highland — these are the maps on which surveyors originally plotted how the land was subdivided into the lots that, for the most part, still exist today. To explore the maps, you can start by viewing the map of Virginia-Highland (“Map of Maps”), then select your specific area, then click through all available maps for that sector.

Now, the VHCA Preservation and History committee has provided an additional 30 historic plat maps which we have posted. The most enjoyable thing (for history and map geeks, anyway) is to explore from the overall VaHi map. However, if you want to know specifically which maps were added, here is a list:

Before the Plaza Theatre, Patent Medicine Paid for the Druid Apartments

by Brian Gross

It seems that patent medicine paid for quite a bit of local real estate development in the early 1900s. I previously wrote about how Dr. Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic helped build Atkins Park. Now I’ve discovered another promoter of cure-all liquid who financed a beautiful apartment building at the southwest corner of Ponce and N. Highland with his profits.

The site is currently occupied by Briarcliff Plaza, “Atlanta’s first shopping center” (1939) and home to the Plaza Theatre and Majestic Diner. But here in 1917, the Druid Apartments were built. They were financed by George Francis Willis who had made his fortune on sales of Tanlac, a cure for stomach troubles, and Zonite, an antiseptic.

In 1920, Forrest and George Adair brokered a deal whereby Willis sold the apartments for $125,000 to Alex F. Marcus and Charles F. Ursenbach [3] – both brothers-in-law of Leo Frank, who had famously been lynched in 1915.

I haven’t found out if there’s a reason the Druid Apartments were torn down other than a more profitable use of the land.

And following the history trail keeps turning up even more of these patent medicine-financed developments. Mozley Park in west Atlanta, a lovely 1920s neighborhood and an early epicenter of white flight, was founded by Dr. Hiram Mozley, whose lemon elixir promised to relieve heart disease, indigestion, nervous prostration, headache, constipation and neuralgia!

Follow the history trail and there’s always more than meets the eye.


Buy a VaHi Map Print and Support John Howell Park

The Great Frame Up and the Virginia-Highland Civic Association are partnering to help raise funds for improvements at John Howell Park, the 2.8 acre park at the geographic heart of the Virginia-Highland neighborhood.

The Great Frame Up, located at 1409 N. Highland Avenue, has commissioned City Prints Map Art, creators of fine art map prints, to create a beautiful map print of the Virginia-Highland area. Prints are on sale now exclusively at The Great Frame Up. Cost is $40 with optional custom matting and framing available. For even more value, the Great Frame Up is also currently offering a 30% discount coupon on frame moulding with every custom framing order.

50% of print sale proceeds will go toward planned improvements at John Howell Park. Click here for more information on John Howell Park, including a recently awarded $50,000 grant from Park Pride that will also help fund the planned improvements.

Click here to visit The Great Frame Up website for more information and to print out the 30% discount coupon.

Master Plan Community Workshop Scheduled

DSC_0037Interested in learning more about the Virginia-Highland Master Plan process that’s underway and having your two cents heard?

If so, you’re invited to join members of the group facilitating the process from 7:00-9:00 PM on Wednesday January 22 for a quick update on where the process stands and to kick off a community-wide discussion on topics not related to traffic and transportation. The breakout sessions will enable you to provide input to our professional planners on what you’d like to see in our neighborhood in the years to come.

The meeting is tentatively set to be held at Inman Middle School. If the location changes, we’ll let you know.

Improvements Coming Soon to Monroe/10th Intersection

According to the website, significant pedestrian safety improvements will be made soon at the intersection of 10th Street and Monroe Drive. The improvements are designed to support the recent opening of the Eastside BeltLine trail which currently terminates a few feet from the east side of Monroe, just across from Park Tavern and Piedmont Park.

Here’s the pertinent text from the article on the BeltLine website and a drawing of what the intersection will look like after the improvements are made:

“The improved section of Eastside Trail ends at Monroe Dr. adjacent to Park Tavern and Piedmont Park. The City of Atlanta Public Works Dept. approved the design for traffic signal and pavement striping improvements for the intersection. Eastside trail users will be able to cross Monroe Dr. to Piedmont Park more easily with new pedestrian signals and a 28’ wide striped pedestrian crossing with new curbramps built into the sidewalks on either side of Monroe Dr. The traffic signals for the Virginia and 10thStreet intersections with Monroe will be re-timed and coordinated in anticipation of heavier pedestrian and bicyclist activity through the area. Construction on the improvement is slated to begin in early November and be completed by mid-December (weather permitting). While improvements will occur on all four “corners” of the intersection, we have requested that the contractor prioritize the interface between the Park Tavern corner and the Eastside Trail.”